Online purchases offer greater potential rewards than in-store shopping for one single reason — shopping portals. You can earn points simply by clicking through a shopping portal to the site where you’re making the purchase. Those points are in addition to the points you already earn on your credit card. It’s double dipping!
There are lots of different shopping portals and their rewards rates are constantly changing. It would take way too long to check every single portal so how do you know which one is the best to use? And quickly?
How to Find the Best Shopping Portal
There is one very easy way to find out which shopping portal offers the best rewards rate. That is by going to evreward.com and searching the name of the store you plan to make a purchase from. Evreward then provides you a list of all the shopping portals that offer rewards for that store along with the actual rewards rates.
Let’s pretend I need to purchase some cat food from Petco. I go to evreward.com and search Petco in the box.
Evreward provides me with a list of rewards rates from various programs.
Which Shopping Portal is Best
After finding all the rewards rates, the next step is determining which program offers the greatest value. As always, it’s important to remember that all points are not created equal. The highest rewards rate does not equate to the best value.
You can see there are three categories of rewards programs:
- Cash Back
- Points Programs
- Frequent Flyers Miles / Hotel Rewards
A good starting point is taking the best rewards rate from each category to compare. In this example, Mr. Rebates (5%), Chase Ultimate Rewards (3%), and American Airlines (3%) are the most attractive options.
You may notice that Hawaiian Airlines actually offers a better rate at 4% but I don’t ever fly Hawaiian Airlines. With so many rewards programs available, you only want to select ones that are going to provide real value to you personally. There is no point earning slightly more points in a program you never plan to use.
In addition to the rewards rate, you have to multiply by the value of each point in the respective rewards programs. Cash back is always going to be only one cent per point. As a result, it normally ends up being a less attractive option even though it often offers the highest rewards rate. For me, Chase Ultimate Rewards are extremely valuable as I transfer them to Southwest where I have the Southwest Companion Pass.
Now it’s very clear that using the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal will provide me significantly better value than the other options. The best part is that I actually receive even more value because this doesn’t include the points from the credit card. If I use my Chase Freedom Unlimited card, I earn 1.5x on my spending which is an additional 4.5% of value for a total of 13.5%.
If you need help determining the value of a rewards program, ThePointsGuy provides monthly points valuations that are fantastic for setting a baseline. As you redeem points, calculate the value received to understand the value based on your own usage.
If you know you’re making an online purchase, never go straight to the company’s webpage. Always check evreward.com first to see where you could earn additional points for the purchase you’re already making.
If you’re debating between purchasing online versus in-store, you also need to consider potential shipping costs as they often outweigh the additional rewards earned from a shopping portal. Many sites offer free shipping with a minimum spending amount. For instance, Petco offers free shipping on orders over $49. Strategizing purchases (i.e. not buying unnecessary items) to take advantage of free shipping ensures online shopping ends up much more rewarding than in-store shopping.